Barefoot Horse

Going Barefoot

Underrun Heels

Hey Friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything and I’m sorry for that. These past couple of years have been full of ups and downs and not much horse time. I barely rode – sadly I can probably count on one hand the number of times I actually rode – and just haven’t been doing much with the horses. They became well cared for pasture ornaments. Hopefully that will change after this winter and I can make 2019 my year to get more riding in.

So you might be wondering what I have to talk about then…well that’s easy. After years of frustration, I’ve decided to go Barefoot. No more shoeing. No more feet problems caused by shoeing. Now the horses are barefoot.

 

WHY am I going Barefoot with My Horses

It’s all because of Gracie! A few years ago I noticed Gracie was starting to get underrun heels. This worried me because I knew it would put strain on her tendons and ligaments and with the problems she already has, I didn’t want her to develop any new ones. At that time I started searching for information on how to fix it and farriers that knew how too. I ended up switching farriers a few times because I wanted to find the right person. If I didn’t notice the right kind of change after 3-4 shoeings then it was time to try someone else.

Now it’s been a few years and exactly what I wanted to prevent from getting worse, did get worse. Part of it is the farriers I’ve used not knowing how to fix it (I do believe they tried their best though and did what they felt was right. So I’m not bashing anyone.) and the other part was my lack of knowledge. I believed everything I was told by the farriers because they are the professionals. I just assumed they knew what they were doing and would get the job done. That’s why I was paying them after all. Unfortunately, they didn’t and that’s what led me to make the decision to go Barefoot. Two and a half weeks ago I had my farrier pull shoes and I don’t plan to go back.

I’ve spent hours upon hours researching, reading and watching every piece of material I could get my hands on. I’ve spent quite a bit of money buying books and DVDs on barefoot trimming so I can get familiar enough with it to start trimming myself. I even bought nippers, a rasp, and a knife so I would have the right equipment to do it.

I know we’re divided in the horse world between the barefoot believers and the shoeing believers. I still believe there is a reason for both but I’ve become more of a believer that if you’re going to have your horse shod then you need to have a competent farrier that has some barefoot knowledge so they can keep the foot balanced and be able to fix issues…even if fixing them means going barefoot and not shoeing. I totally understand that shoeing is where farriers likely make the best money but I no longer believe that horses NEED SHOES.

In all honesty, I always believed Te needed front shoes because he has thin soles and feet that crack. Funny enough, I had planned to leave Te’s shoes on and only take the girls barefoot. Te’s feet looked good and he was happy in shoes. But 2 days after the farrier came out, Te lost one of his shoes. It just so happened it was on a Friday and I knew my farrier wouldn’t be able to come out on the weekend, so I watched him to see how he did. Amazingly, he never took a sore step. It’s been 2 weeks and still he hasn’t come up sore. Our ground is soft right now, which I know is helping to keep him from getting sore and things could change as it hardens in winter but for now, he’ll be barefoot too.

I know some of you are likely shaking your heads and thinking I’ve lost it; but let me say, I fully understand barefoot horses can have issues too. Especially if the person trimming doesn’t do a good job and isn’t keeping the foot balanced. Going barefoot made more sense to me after all the research I’ve done. It makes sense to look at diet to make sure the horse is getting the right ratio of minerals. It made sense to me to pay better attention to the inside of the hoof and not just the outside. After watching Gracie’s problem get worse and worse for a few years, I had no choice but to make a drastic change and decision. You know the saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Well that was me. I was literally feeling insane. I knew there was a problem and kept telling people there was a problem. I kept using the same type of farriers to fix the problem and it wasn’t working.

I’m hoping to see changes now though. If I don’t, then guess what, I’ll do more research and look for the next thing to try. Luckily going barefoot is going to be bad for my horse. If anything it will be good. Heck, even farriers that shoe for a living have wrote about horses needing barefoot periods. So no matter what, I do believe this is the right change.

Now with all that said, I plan to start documenting Gracie’s feet. I still have all the photos I took over the years, along with all the recent photos I’ve taken to document the start of barefoot trimming. So if you’re interested in seeing what happens and if her problem with underrun heels is fixed through barefoot trimming, come ride along! I’ll be posting updates once a month, sometimes sooner depending upon when changes are made, so you can check the blog for all updates. 🙂

 

SO TELL ME..

How many of you already are doing the barefoot thing?

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